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					                 BREAKING THROUGH EDITORIAL


                                        A Celebration of Effort



                                                                 Bill Zebuhr




I  nfinite Energy began as a magazine focused on cold fusion,
   but since the early days has also reported on and promot-
ed a broad range of new science and technology. One of the
                                                                Fleischmann-Pons Effect. He acknowledged that it has been
                                                                a long and frustrating path and that the science is not yet
                                                                understood fully but that great progress is being made. He
reasons for the broader outlook—aside from exploring the        also noted that even if cold fusion is not successful as a
idea of “infinite energy” in as many ways as possible—is that   major energy source, it will lead to a better understanding of
progress was slow (understandably) in taking cold fusion        the universe and may be valuable as a way to transmute ele-
from a controversial theory to a useful technology.             ments. That would be a major success and could be very
   When I became a technical editor for IE, I took the posi-    valuable in cleaning up nuclear waste and maybe certain
tion that the magazine should focus more on basic science       kinds of other waste. The tailoring of materials for specific
than a particular technology because the “new energy” tech-     purposes will become more and more valuable in the future
nologies had such a repeating history of                            Photo by Duy Tran as special needs are revealed and conven-
always being “about to happen” but                                                    tional sources diminish. David left me
never actually happening. This was true                                               with the impression that the hard work
of magnetic motors, zero point proposals                                              was paying off and that even as limita-
and other new energy technologies, as                                                 tions were discovered, new opportunities
well as cold fusion. I have doubts about                                              opened, and even though the light could
magnetic motors and most of the zero                                                  still not be seen at the end of the tunnel,
point energy plans, but have never                                                    at least there was evidence and belief that
doubted since 1989 that cold fusion was                                               the light was there. It was great to see his
a real science. I have often doubted,                                                 enthusiasm after such a marathon of
however, that cold fusion would produce                                               effort. Progress was being made, the
useful energy pursuing the science as it                                              effort is worth it, and it is still fun. Of
has been understood.                                                                  course, a lot of it is not fun but the fact
   Our technical editor Scott Chubb is                                                that a lot of it is can get people through
one of the world’s experts on cold fusion,                                            the hard times.
but I am a relative newcomer to the field                                                Fun may not be the right way to look
and attending part of the 14th                                                        at it. There is great satisfaction when suc-
International Conference on Condensed                                                 cess is achieved, but sometimes there is a
Matter Nuclear Science (ICCF14) was a ICCF14 Keynote Speaker Llewellyn King long time between successes. Dennis
very good experience for me. Starting at           and Chairman David Nagel           Letts, a long time, mostly self-funded
the opening of the reception the atmosphere was upbeat and      researcher, had dozens of successful experiments in a row
exciting. There was an abundance of good spirit, good intel-    and then went four years without a success when one of the
lect and good humor in the room. Even the food was good.        variables changed. That was not fun, but he persevered and
This struck me as remarkable given the very long, tough road    again achieved success. The long term vision and conviction
to get to the current state of development—which still seems    that the rewards will be huge drives people onward. I believe
a long way from producing a commercial product. The world       the rewards will be huge and that many researchers also
should be very thankful that such dedicated scientists and      believe that, but I do not think that they necessarily think of
visionaries exist.                                              the reward in financial terms. It is almost self-evident that if
   Keynote speaker Llewellyn King spoke sensibly and pas-       someone makes a useful device that the financial rewards
sionately about the need for alternatives to oil and coal, set- could be great, but that vision is far in the future for most so
ting the proper stage for the discussions to follow. David      the rewards must be the satisfaction of having a significant
Nagel spoke of the problems, progress and prospects of the      impact on science and the joy of the journey.

                                                            SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008 • ISSUE 81 • INFINITE ENERGY                 1
   Some researchers are at least partially financed by founda-             nities are huge and the world benefit great. Instead of think-
tion grants, including some from the New Energy                            ing in terms of two years and very high margins with an
Foundation. These grants are possible because of individual                investment that might total $20 million or so, the realiza-
donors who have the vision to see the benefits from this                   tion now is that it could take five to ten years and require an
research even during the long stretches of frustratingly slow              investment of $100 to $200 million to develop some of the
progress and no useful product in sight. These donors are                  new technologies dealing with energy and water. True ven-
extremely important to the field and can be the difference                 ture capital is needed, but there is still no viable plan to cre-
between ultimate success and failure. The amount of money                  ate a return on investment even with a ten year view.
is so small from most other sources that sometimes even                       Some of the technologies may be ready for investment
small amounts make a big difference. It is not just the                    soon. If high over-unity devices showed promise of reliabili-
money itself but the idea that there are people out there that             ty and reasonable cost if made in volume, a plan that could
believe in the work being done. Donors also support confer-                attract investment could be presented. The ability to trans-
ences, including ICCF14, and “scholarships” for students to                mute elements could be a very attractive investment if rea-
attend these events. This helps spread ideas and promote                   sonably reliable results were focused on a specific appropri-
progress and good will. They deserve special thanks for their              ate market. This could enable other technologies, such as
contribution, which is often behind the scenes or even                     nuclear power or toxic waste remediation. In view of the
anonymous.                                                                 improving investment climate, there may be a benefit in
   Very encouraging technical progress is being made on a                  some cases to shift the thinking from how to keep doing
number of fronts. Keys to repeatability are being found,                   experiments on a low budget to thinking about what could
some high over-unity values are being recorded, the quanti-                be done if money was not the limiting factor. Combining
ties of heat being produced are increasing, and theories are               resources, doing many experiments in parallel, and the ben-
being refined. Some realistic evaluations of how a useful                  efits of mass production could be considered.
device might be produced are being discussed and some                         The science is improving, experimental techniques are
higher temperature processes that can help facilitate the                  improving and the field is gaining acceptance. I am encour-
design of such a device are being successfully tested. There is            aged that the time for some practical application is
a healthy collaboration between researchers and the effort is              approaching. The spirit of the conference was uplifting. It
truly international, so knowledge comes from a diverse base                was an example of human intellect and spirit at its best.
and the eventual results will be more easily utilized around
the world.
   The whole field is still greatly under-funded. The invest-
ment climate has changed greatly in the last few years. In                  Unlimited Renewable Solar Energy from Water:
the late 1990s if you were not a dot-com with the promise of                          A Collection of Articles by Peter Graneau et al.
quick money and no annoying real hardware to produce, it
                                                                                           Collection includes nine peer-reviewed articles
was very hard to raise capital for a new venture. Now a new
wave of interest has begun and that is the environmen-                                           published by Peter Graneau et al.
tal/sustainable technology field. Venture capitalists are now                         Paperback/Specially Bound                      Unlimited Renewable Solar Energy from Water:
aware that when one is dealing with atoms instead of bits,                                    92 pages                               A Collection of Articles by Peter Graneau et al.


the required capital can be much greater and the time to
market much longer. On the plus side, some of the opportu-                  $17.95 North America
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2    INFINITE ENERGY • ISSUE 81 • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008

				
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Description: I nfinite Energy began as a magazine focused on cold fusion, but since the early days has also reported on and promot- ed a broad range of new science and technology. One of the reasons for the broader outlook—aside from exploring the idea of “infinite energy” in as many ways as possible—is that progress was slow (understandably) in taking cold fusion from a controversial theory to a useful technology. When I became a technical editor for IE, I took the posi- tion that the magazine should focus more on basic science than a particular technology because the “new energy” tech- nologies had such a repeating history of always being “about to happen” but never actually happening. This was true of magnetic motors, zero point proposals and other new energy technologies, as well as cold fusion. I have doubts about magnetic motors and most of the zero point energy plans, but have never doubted since 1989 that cold fusion was a real science. I have often doubted, however, that cold fusion would produce useful energy pursuing the science as it has been understood